Friday Serendipity….back to New Zealand

We here in Washington state know full well that our Pacific coastline is astoundingly beautiful………. but we (should?) also know that Washington, or even America, does not have the corner on beautiful coastlines. Take New Zealand………. If I had shared this photo of mine and asked if you could identify WHERE it was taken, would you have guessed the Pacific shore of the North Island, New Zealand???

Spotlight on the Northeast Washington Gen Society

The Northeast Washington Genealogical Society is not only alive and well, but it is thriving! I attended their meeting in Colville on Wed, Mar 14th, and 35 were present….up a good ten from usual, President Karen Struve explained. “We send out meeting reminders to nearly 50 too,” Karen said. Kathy Ochs teaches a repeating beginners class and coming from that are a flock of prospective new members. Good for them, way up in Stevens County, the northeast corner of Washington.

This group has published nearly two dozen books on their area and one, Little Journeys, is in its third printing and had an order from Germany. On a sadder note, their periodical, Pioneer Branches, has been discontinued due to lack of support (nobody will step up to do it!). I asked about continuing and new plans and projects and they have plenty. Their major focus of time and energy is the care and keeping of the Evergreen Pioneer Cemetery where they have reset stone, replaced stones and done repeated massive cleanups. (A WSGS grant went to this group to fund the removal of a huge, leaning tree threatening the cemetery.) They work with the Stevens County Historical Society on research requests and projects.

The above group photo is of the NeWGS board:  (L to R) Kathy Ochs (beginners’ class); Lora Rose (Evergreen Cemetery); Sue Witham (treasurer); Susan Dechant (past president); Mary Ann Schrader (member-at-large); Norma Yost (vice president); and Karen Struve. Not present were Sharon Wilson (recording secretary) and Helen Swords (corresponding secretary).

Their annual fall seminar (29 Sep 2018) will feature Janet O’Conner Camarata and “every genealogist in the state is invited to come!”

Their website is

I 100% enjoyed my lunch and time with them for they are upbeat, energetic and positive and that makes genealogy FUN, wouldn’t you agree?


Wednesday Nostalgia


Little coin-operated-table jukeboxes……. who remembers dropping a quarter into one?

According to Wikipedia, “coin-operated music boxes and player pianos were the first forms of automated coin-operated musical devices.” Jukeboxes were most popular from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, particularly during the 1950s. By the middle of the 1940s, three-quarters of the records produced in America went into jukeboxes.”

Jukeboxes were cheap entertainment and we used to calculate the popularity of new music. Like Elvis. Like so many stars of Back Then.

What was your favorite song to plug in a quarter and play as you waited for your hamburger, shake and fries???

Tuesday Trivia


Parnell, Washington, founded on 6 Aug 1889, on a site about 1/2 mile south of Hartline. Ever heard of it???

Even Grandma Google couldn’t find anything on this bitsy place! Seems it’s been forgotten? (There were several hits for folks named Parnell Washington, oddly enough.)

Parnell was established because of the need to survey the line for the railroad…..which failed to materialize. So the hopeful founding fathers, Brower & Reeves, moved their merchandise store from Parnell to Hartline and indeed, the Northern Pacific Railroad did come through Hartline a bit later. The town of Hartline was named by John Hartline on 28 Jul1890.

Anybody in WSGS have an ancestral connection to Parnell or even Hartline???

Monday’s Mystery

Roberta Sunday.  Does that name ring a bell with anybody? How about Robert Martin of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho?  When Robert served in Vietnam in 1970, his platoon rescued a baby girl among the dead and in the remains of a bombed out bunker. They turned the baby over to the Catholic orphanage and when asked for her name, and of course not having one, the platoon suggested naming her after Robert: Roberta. And Sunday since she was found on a Sunday. Now 48, and perhaps living in New Zealand, Robert wants to much to find out what happened to her……….. Any WSGS readers know anything??

I read about this in the 7 Feb 2018 edition of The New Zealand Herald (Auckland) and found that my paper, The Spokesman Review, had published the story back on 23 Jun 2017.

So, I wonder, have Robert and Roberta connected? Anybody know anything??

Friday Serendipity

Hubby and I recently spent over two weeks in New Zealand; it was (of course) fabulous. In this blog-spot and over the next few weeks, I shall share some New Zealand serendipity with you………… Scotch Broom, as we call it, is found all over the Puget Sound region…… I look forward to visiting my family in Port Angeles in spring for the extra reason of seeing all the Scotch Broom in bloom. BUT…………………..

This familiar plant, also known as Scot’s Broom, is an invasive flowering shrub that grows commonly throughout the Puget Sound region. Originally introduced from Europe as an ornamental and for erosion control, it is highly aggressive and forms dense, monotypic stands which reduce wildlife habitat and hinder re-vegetation of upland sites and wetland buffers.

We saw this plant (not blooming, too late in the summer) all over New Zealand. Very surprised to see it but people from Scotland did settle there, especially in Dunedin on the South Island.

In fact, Mark Twain must have visited Dunedin because he wrote, “This town was settled by the Scotch. They were on their way home to heaven and stopped here. Thinking they had arrived, they stayed.”

So think of it! Washington and New Zealand have something in common, Scotch Broom!

Wednesday Nostalgia


Dandelions. The bane of a pretty-lawn-seekers existence. What earthly good are dandelions?? WELL!

According to the magazine Birds & Blooms, Apr/May 2017, dandelions make a dandy drink…”Pharmacists in 19th century England made tea from roasted dandelion roots; the drink is still trendy today, thanks to a coffee-like taste and color without the caffeine.” Google dandelion tea for many hits………. even today it’s a desirable drink.

Bet you did not know that dandelion flowers can reach heights of 6 to 24 inches and their roots can be as deep as 10 to 15 feet………..which I can attest to! Every spring, my digger, bucket and I go on a killing spree…….. but now I know why the rascals always come back.

From blossom to root, 100% of this plant is edible “for most people.” (Humm….what might that mean?)  A cup of chopped raw dandelion greens provides 112% of the daily requirement for Vitamin A at only 25 calories.

Tuesday Trivia`

Prospective parents ponder long and hard to find just the right name for their baby. This is true today and it certainly must have been true yesterday. In our genealogy we often “fuss” when Richard Allen-1 names his son Richard Allen-2 and then comes Richard Allen-3, and so on. But we raise our eyebrows equally high to find some downright (          ) (you fill in the blank!!) first names. I say odd, unusual, seemingly crazy and hard to spell much less pronounce.

Did you read where Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have three children named, North (girl), Saint (boy) and now Chicago (girl). Those dear children will never find their name on a doodad.

Yesterday first-naming a baby was no different. Cases in point:

Nicholas, King of the Jews……….. a baby boy in 1870 in Tennessee.

Alabama, Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, all big sisters to baby brother Northwest Territory, another census finding.

What crazy-odd-funny-unusual first names are found in your family tree?

(Thanks to Google and “meandmason” blog on WordPress.)

Monday Mystery

Today’s Mystery: What was a Conestoga wagon???

What is your mental image of a Conestoga wagon? Like “all the pioneers” used? Well, they didn’t all use a Conestoga wagon but many did. Here’s a wonderful description:

“A Conestoga wagon in all its glory was a brave sight. The wagon body was that color so dearly loved by the Pennsylvania Dutch, a light but brilliant blue; the great wheels and all running gear was black and the hempen homespun top was white; the great wheels and all the running gear was well as the sideboards were vermilion. The horses were often black or bay; over the horses were bows of bells…rising were flat iron hoops with three to eight bells carefully selected to chime………..

Can you imagine or picture that grand sight? Here tiz:

Want to read “the rest of the story,” I’m reading The Pennsylvania Dutch by Fredric Klees, 1950, page 227.


Friday Serendipity

When you hit a really big tough roadblock in your genealogy (like into Russia?) then it might be time for you to consider  hiring a professional genealogist. Have you ever heard of genealogyDOTcoach?

This is a fairly new online service matching professional genealogists (called Genealogy Coaches) with people who want to have all the fun of making family history discoveries for themselves but who just need a little assistance from someone they can trust. This new family history service has been formed to fill that critical gap. It was initially launched with 26 coaches with expertise across 46 different topic areas.

If this is a life-preserver-tossed-to-you service that might interest you, Google the name and start learning and feeling better!